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sand years before Christ, so that this religious system may be safely regarded as of comparatively recent origin.
The Egyptians attribute their sacred books to Hermes. But we knew nothing of this Hermes till the days of Manetho, who pretends to quote from him. His writings, as we have already shown, are so contradictory and absurd, that we need waste no time in refuting them. The Hermetic Creed-attributed to this Hermes—has been unduly extolled by many who see no sublimity in Holy Writ; but all that is good in it is so evidently borrowed from the Jewish Theology, that we may dismiss it with the remark that it is only known to us through Jamblichus, who was cotemporary with the fathers of the Christian Church.
A word or two about the traditions of Babylon, Sidon, Assyria, and Iran, which, according to Dr. Rowland Williams, are brought by Bunsen to “illustrate and confirm, though to modify, our interpretation of Genesis !" Tradition may be a very good handmaid to Revelation, but it is rather too much to make her the patron and censor of inspired truth. Doubt, it would thus seem, may confirm certainty, and conjecture, modify facts! And this without any nice inquiry into the age or character of such traditions.
Borossus, who has left us the Chaldean Fragments, lived in the fourth century before Christ, but we owe their preservation to Eusebius, who wrote about seven centuries later.
Of Sanchoniatho, who records those of Phænicia, we know nothing-where he lived, or whether he lived at all, being very uncertain. For the Greek translation of such fragments as have come down to us, we are likewise indebted to Eusebius. But what intrinsic glory do both these authors possess, according to Bunsen and his annotator, Dr. Williams! “It is strange,” says he, “how nearly these ancient cosmogonies approach what may be called the philosophy of Moses, whilst they fall short in what Longinus called, his 'worthy conception of the Divinity!'”
Unfortunately for these scoffers, there is such a thing as common sense, and the intelligent masses may choose to decide the matter for themselves. Let us listen for a moment to our Chaldean oracle : “ There was a time in which there was nothing but darkness, and an abyss of waters, wherein resided most hideous beings, which were produced of a twofold principle. Men appeared with two wings, some with four, and with two faces. They had one body, but two
heads—the one of a man : the other of a woman." The darkness and the abyss of waters certainly approach not to the philosophy, but to the facts of Moses; and we certainly miss the "worthy conception" of the Divine fiat, “Light, be!" But, au reste, we must confess that looks very like an extract from the “Voiage and Travaille of Sir John Mandeville, Knight.”
Never mind! The Phænician cosmogony of Sanchoniatho may enter, perhaps, into closer competition with Moses. “ The beginning of all things,” he says,
was a dark and condensed windy air, or a breeze of dark air, and a chaos turbid and indistinct, like Erebus, and these things were infinite, and for a long time had no bound.” Pity these old cosmogonists did not approach somewhat nearer the philosophy of Moses ! In that case, they would not have babbled of condensed breezes, which can exist only by rarefaction, or infinities that had just come into being, and "for a long time had no bound !"
But their cosmogonies do our sceptics yet further service, by setting aside the current idea that Noali's Deluge was brought about by the direct interference of God himself. In them, “Our Deluge takes its place among geological phenomena, no longer a disturbance from which Science shrinks, but a prolonged play of the forces of fire and water, rendering the primeval regions of North Asia uninhabitable." So, because Science “ shrinks" from the idea that God drowned the world in judgment, we must look on Noah's flood as a mere phase in the ordinary processes of nature. How true is it that evil men and seducers “wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived ! ”
Of the traditions of Iran, one word, in completion of our subject. Zoroaster, to whom we owe the “Oracles" of this people, is himself a myth, as there is a disparity of a thousand years with regard to the probable period of his existence. His writings, moreover, have been frequently challenged as spurious, and, from the fragments preserved to our time, they appear to be so mystic and speculative that little can be made of them. A short extract must suffice :“The father congregated seven firmaments of the world,
Circumscribing heaven in a round figure,
If "Science" do not "shrink" from such wretched twaddle, we do, and turn with grateful hearts to the Mosaic record of Creation; thank God that He has not left us to the bewilderment of worthless traditions!
By Rev. CHARLES WILLS, M.A.
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
EMENDATIVE RENDERINGS. Chap. xxi. (continued).-26. Then Paul taking to him the men (avopas], the next day having purified himself with them, went into the temple to iepor], unnouncing the fulfilment of the days of purification, until there was offered for each one of them the offering. 27. But when the seven days were about ending, the Jews of Asia, having seen him in the temple (iepõ], disturbed all the crored, and laid hands on him, 28. Crying, Men (avèpes] of Israel, help. This is the man [av@pwaos] that teaches all everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place : and besides brought Hellenes into the temple (iepov), and has made common this holy place. 29. For they had seen before Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, whom they thought that Paul brought into the temple (iepov]. 30. And the whole city was moved, and there arose a running together of the people; and seizing Paul they dragged him without the temple [iepov] ; and straightway the doors were shut. 31. And while they were seeking to kill him, tidings went up to the præfect [lit. chief of a thousand) of the cohort, that the whole of Jerusalem was disturbed. 32. Who at oncé, taking soldiers and centurions, ran down upon them: but they, seeing the præfect and the soldiers, ceased beating Paul. 33. Then the præfect approaching seized him, and commanded to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he might be and what he had done. 34. And some shouted this, others that against [lim (that is, Paul)] in the crowd; he, not able to know the surety for the uproar, com. manded him to be brought into the fort. 35. And when he came upon the steps, it came to pass, that he was borne by the soldiers by reason of the force of the crowd. 36. For the multitude of the people followed, crying, Away with him. 37. And about to be brought into the fort, Paul says to the præfect, Is it permitted me to say something to thee? And he said, Dost thou understand Hellenic ? 38. Art thou not then the Egyptian who before these days made a commotion, and led out into the wilderness four thousand men [adpas] of assassins ? 39. But Paul said, I (emphatic] indeed am a Jewish man [av putos of Tarsus, of Cilicia, of a not insignificant city a citizen: And I beseech thee, allow me to speak to the people. 40. And he having allowed him, Paul standing on the steps, beckoned with the hand to the people. And great silence coming, he spake to [them] in the Hebrew language, saying:
Chap. xxii. 1.-Men (avdpes], brethren, and fathers, hear my answer now to you. 2. And hearing that he was speaking to them in the Hebrew language, they the more kept quietness. And he says, 3. I indeed am a man, a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but nourished up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, trained according to the exactness of the fatherly law, being (úmapxwr) a zealot of God, as all ye are to-day; 4. Who persecuted this way unto death, binding and giving into prisons both men [avdpas] and women, 5. As also the High Priest witnesses to me, and all the company of elders : from whom also having received letters to the brethren, I was going to Damascus to bring them that were there, bound to Jerusalem, that they might be punished. 6. But it came to pass to me, going and nearing Damascus, about mid-day, of a sudilen there lightened from heaven a great light around me 7. And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8. But I (emphatic) answered, Who art thou, Lord ? And he said to me, I [emphatic) am Jesus the Nazarene whom thou persecutest
9. And they that were with me the light indeed beheld and were put in fear, but the voice heard not of him speaking to
10. And I said, What shall I do, Lord ? And the Lord said to me, Arise, go into Damascus, and there shall be spoken to thee concerning all (things] which are ordered thee to do.
11. And when I did not see for the brightness of that light, led by the hand by my companions, I came into Damascus. 12. But a certain Ananias, a man [avnp] devout according to the law, well witnessed by all the Jews settled (there], 13. Coming to me and standing by, said to me, Brother Saul, look up. And I (emphatic] the same hour looked up upon him. 14. And he said, the God of our fathers made thee ready to know his will, and to see the Just, and hear the voice of his mouth. 15. For thou shalt be witness to Him to all men (av pwmous), of what thou hast seen and heard. 16. And now what art thou about ? Arise to be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon his name. 17. And it came to pass when I had returned to Jerusalem, and as I was praying in the temple (iepõ] I became in a trance; 18. And saw Him saying to me, Hasten and go quickly out of Jerusalem ; because they will not receive thy witness concerning me. 19. And I (emphatic] said, Lord, they (emphatic] understand that I (emphatic] was imprison. ing and scourging throughout the synagogues them that believe on thee; 20. And when was shed forth the blood of Stephen thy uitness, I was even standing by and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that were slaying him. 21. And He said to me, Go, for I (emphatic] will send thee out to the
22. And they heard him as far as this word, and lifted up their voice, saying, Away from the earth with such a man, for it is not right for him to live. 23. And as they were clamouring and casting (up] their garments, and throwing dust into the air, 24. The præfect commanded him to be brought into the fort, saying that he should be racked with scourges, that he might come to know for what reason they thus cried upon him. 25. And when they had stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion standing by,